Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Creamy Penne with Blue Cheese and Arugula

Over the past few years I have grown to love blue cheese, and I always bookmark savory recipes using it, like this one for Creamy Penne with Blue Cheese, Arugula, and Toasted Walnuts from the blog Bev Cooks.

Blue Cheese can be sharp and salty, and arugula is a delicate green yet peppery and pungent. I love these two ingredients together so I knew this would be a great pasta dish - minus the walnuts. I'm one of those people who isn't a fan of fruit or nuts in my savory dishes. It WAS a great dish, and I'm so glad I had leftovers to enjoy for lunch today.

Adding garlic to this dish works well. Cooking time on this is as long as it takes you to boil a pot of water, cook penne, and mix with the sauce. So maybe 20-25 minutes max. Perfect for a quick and easy dinner.


  • 1/2 pound penne pasta
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • Add: 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup reduced-fat milk (I used 1.5 cups light cream)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (I love a lot of freshly ground black pepper in this dish)

Directions (in my own words)

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente, drain, set aside.
  • Melt butter in a large saute pan. Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes.
  • Add cream and bring to a simmer. Mix in the blue cheese and whisk until creamy, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add pasta and toss.
  • Add arugula and toss until wilted.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Arroz Con Pollo

Are you on Pinterest? If so, are you completely addicted? I just love scrolling through everyone's pins to see what cool things are out there. And of course I just love seeing all of the beautiful food pictures. I have found so many new recipes and inspiration for things I want to cook since I joined Pinterest just a few weeks ago.

This Arroz Con Pollo came from a recipe pinned to Pinterest by someone I follow, and is from the blog Eat, Live, Run. I made a few change to make it an easy weeknight meal.

A few things I really loved about this dish - the roasted tomatoes, how quick and easy it was (with my changes), the fact that it's a one-pot dish, and how much flavor it has. It reminded me a lot of my one-pot Latin Style Chicken with Rice, just with more veggies and a few other spices.

Here is my version of the recipe -


  • Marinade: 1/2 c orange juice, juice from 1/2 of a lime, touch of oil, 1 tsp cumin, 2 cloves minced garlic, and a pinch or two of salt
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 1 c canned, diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp saffron, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3.5 c chicken broth
  • 2 c white rice
  • 1/2 c frozen peas


  • Mix marinade ingredients and pour over chicken in a shallow dish or ziploc bag. Marinate 1-2 hours.
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and place in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet. Roast for 20 minutes or until slightly charred and bursting (my tomatoes were so good that I ate almost half of them before getting them into my pot...glad I made extra!!). Lower oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed, oven-proof pot over medium high heat
  • Add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes per side; transfer to a plate
  • Add onions and peppers to the pot; saute 3-4 minutes
  • Add garlic; saute 1-2 minutes
  • Add roasted tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and spices; stir
  • Add rice; stir. Add broth, stir and bring to a boil.
  • Add chicken, cover tightly, and transfer to the oven for 20-25 minutes. The chicken should be completely cooked through and the rice should be done/liquid should be absorbed.
  • Stir in the peas and serve

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage (Galumpki) Soup

My grandmom on my dad's side was known for making wonderful, authentic Polish dinners. Whenever we ate at her house (which was often!), we knew we were in for some good eats! My favorite thing that she made was galumpki, or stuffed cabbage. Even as a kid I could eat a few of them at a time. My dad made them for Easter a few years ago - click here for the recipe.

When I got my recipe for the most recent Taste of Home Cooking recipe swap focused on soup, I was super excited to see that it was for Stuffed Cabbage Soup. This recipe was submitted by the author of the blog I Was Born to Cook.

I made a few small changes to the recipe and the quantities, and will make one more change the next time I make it. I added onions, used more pepper, less cayenne, and used beef stock and water instead of just water. I also didn't take the author's suggestion to serve with cheese on top as you would never find cheese on galumpki and I wanted to keep this as close to authentic as possible.

The next time I make this soup I will cook 2 slices of bacon in the pot before starting my meat. My grandmother always started her galumpki with bacon, and even cooked her cabbage rolls on top of the bacon - it added such great flavor to her rolls.

When my dad walked into my kitchen and saw the soup, he said that it looked like galumpki thrown in the pot and falling apart, which is pretty much what it is, just without all of the work. When we were eating it we were saying the same thing - it tasted JUST like galumpki. We loved it! I wish I had some rye bread - this soup would be perfect with some fresh buttered rye bread to sop up the liquid. Next time!

My adaptation of the recipe is below.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper (go heavy on the pepper)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small head of green cabbage, chopped
  • 20 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 c beef stock
  • 2.5 c water
  • 1/2 c white rice


  • Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot
  • Add meat and cook, breaking it up as you stir it.
  • Add garlic and onions, continue to cook until the meat is no longer pink
  • Add salt, pepper, cayenne, basil, worcestershire; stir.
  • Add cabbage and tomatoes; stir.
  • Add stock, water, and rice; stir. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook 30-45 minutes. I found that after 45 minutes my cabbage could have used a little more time to cook down, so I will cook it longer before serving next time.
  • Serve with rye bread.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Creamy Pasta with Chicken, Bacon, and Jalapenos

Last week I had a night where I felt like using up some things I had left in my fridge - some bacon, a jalapeno, a few peppers, and 2 chicken breasts. I was craving pasta, so I came up with this pasta dish featuring the chicken and bacon, and given a punch of flavor from the jalapenos.

(note - I made this up as I went along; measurements are approximate)

  • 5 slices bacon, chopped (I like chopping it raw instead of crumbling it after it is cooked)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into thin 2 inch pieces and seasoned with chili powder and salt
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 c light cream
  • 1 c shredded cheese - I used a mix of cheddar and Monterrey Jack
  • 8 oz cooked pasta; I used rotini


  • Cook pasta; drain, set aside
  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Remove all but 1 tbsp bacon grease from the pan and add 1 tsp olive oil.
  • Add chicken to the pan and saute 3-4 minutes.
  • Add peppers and onions; saute until chicken has cooked through, about another 3-4 minutes.
  • Add cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss; top with bacon.

Quick, easy, and full of flavor!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

French Onion Braised Chicken

Do you love French Onion Soup as much as I do? If you do, you will love this chicken dish. It honestly tastes just like French Onion Soup - rich, flavorful, and hearty. Make sure you have an entire baguette handy because you will want to sop up all that delicious gravy with the bread!

I came across the recipe for Braised French Onion Chicken with Gruyere while browsing recipes shared on Pinterest, and it comes from the blog TheKitchn. I made a few changes, including using only 2 pots, deglazing with brandy instead of broth,, and using Jarlsberg Swiss instead of Gruyere. My version of the recipe is below.

Ingredients (for 4)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil for onions
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 c brandy
  • 1 c beef stock
  • 1 tsp olive oil for chicken
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c freshly grated Jarlsberg Swiss cheese
  • 2 pots: Dutch oven or a heavy bottomed, oven safe pan and a saute pan
  • In your Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions and let cook down, stirring occasionally. You are caramelizing them, not frying them, so if they start to brown too quickly, turn the heat down. This process can take 30-45 minutes or longer. About halfway through, add the garlic and herbs. Once fully caramelized, move the onions to the edges of the pan and add the brandy. Stir to scrape up all the brown bits. Redistribute onions evenly in the pan.
  • In the meantime, heat 1 tsp olive oil in the saute pan. Add chicken and brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to the pan with the onions, nestling it into the onions.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Add beef broth to the saute pan over high heat, quickly stirring and scraping up the brown bits. Pour broth over the chicken/onion mixture.
  • Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked through.
  • Top chicken with the cheese and place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese has melted.
  • Serve with a sliced baguette. It also works well served over mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mini Chicken & Biscuit Dinner

A few weeks ago I made a whole roast chicken and had a ton leftover. While browsing the food pins on Pinterest, I came across an interesting recipe using leftover chicken. Now this is not a recipe typical of the type of food I make, but something about it just screamed "comfort" to me. It was a cold week and we were all a bit under the weather, so this recipe hit the spot.

The original recipe was called Incredibly Easy Chicken Broccoli Pies and is by Betty Crocker, but I changed up the ingredients. My pies tasted like Thanksgiving, and I now know what I'm going to do with all of those leftovers come November!

I had some leftover gravy which was great poured over the pies. I even think a mashed potato topping would be cute, especially for kids!


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 c cooked roast chicken, chopped
  • 1 sm onion, diced
  • 1/2 c frozen corn
  • 1/2 c frozen peas
  • 1/2 c frozen or cooked chopped carrots (I blanch baby carrots for my toddler every week, so I took a handful of them and chopped them up)
  • 1/2 c shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Any other herbs you'd like to go with the ingredients you choose; I added a touch of poultry seasoning.
  • 1/2 c Original Bisquick mix
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 eggs


  • Heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Spray 12 regular sized muffin tins with cooking spray
  • Heat olive oil in a saute pan; add onion and cook 3-4 minutes.
  • Add chicken and veggies; stir to mix.
  • Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat and stir in cheese.
  • In a medium bowl stir together the bisquick, milk, and eggs.
  • Fill muffin tins about 1/3 of the way with the baking mixture. Top with a spoonful of the chicken mixture.
  • Bake about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes before using a knife to loosen them from the tins.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chicken and Edamame in an Orange-Ginger Sauce over Quinoa

I am not one to cook with fruit - I don't really like it in salads, prefer savory over sweet, and have only used citrus in marinades or the occasional sauce, such as in chicken piccata. But for some reason, when I saw this recipe for Chicken and Edamame with Orange-Ginger Dressing on the blog Confections of a Foodie Bride, I was intrigued.

I used this cold salad recipe as inspiration to create this warm dish - Chicken and Edamame in an Orange-Ginger Sauce over Quinoa. I couldn't get enough of it - light, fresh, bright, and healthy. And I'm always looking for new ways to use quinoa - it was the perfect base for this dish.

Ingredients (for one serving)

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Spices - salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin
  • 1/2 c quinoa cooked according to package directions (using water or chicken broth as your liquid)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c low sodium chicken broth
  • Juice from 1/2 an orange
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Handful of shelled edamame
  • Cilantro for garnish


  • Season chicken with the spices; cook in the oven on 400 until done, approximately 12-15 minutes. Set aside.
  • Cook quinoa
  • In a saute pan, heat olive oil.
  • Add red pepper and red onion; saute 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; saute 2-3 minutes.
  • Mix broth, orange juice, and lime juice; add to the pan. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Toss edamame into the sauce to warm.
  • Plate your quinoa. Slice the chicken and place over the quinoa. Pour the sauce over the chicken and quinoa and garnish with cilantro.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Potato Roast

I love potatoes. Baked, roasted, covered in cheese and gravy, fried, scalloped, au gratin, mashed, smashed, chips, sticks - basically any way you can prepare a potato, I love it.

Unfortunately my husband and daughter don't share my love of potatoes... seriously, how can you not like a potato!! So I made this recipe for my friend Jenny because she, like most people, likes potatoes. Jon and my daughter just don't know what they are missing.

The recipe for a Potato Roast was part of the most recent Taste of Home Cooking Recipe Swap and it came to me from the blog Prevention RD. I had seen this recipe floating around the blog world and Pinterest, so I was happy when I got it in the swap.

Crispy, herbed potatoes - yes please. And since I served them alongside a roast chicken, I had good, homemade gravy to pour over them. I loved these, and they were even great with some eggs the next morning.

The original recipe called for three pounds of potatoes. Since it was only the two of us, I used three potatoes, and it still made five servings. The recipe below reflects my small changes.


  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Russet Potatoes, sliced thin using a mandoline or food processor
  • 2 shallots, cut into rounds
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a cup or bowl, melt the butter in the oil. Pour a small amount in the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Arrange the potato slices vertically. Wedge the shallots between the potatoes.
  • Pour the rest of the oil/butter mixture over the potatoes.
  • Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Add the thyme and bake another 15-20 minutes. Turn the broiler on high for 5 minutes.